Families and Emotions

  • Rebecca J EricksonEmail author
  • Marci D. Cottingham
Part of the Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research book series (HSSR)


As attention to the emotional dimensions of social structure, culture, and individual development has grown, scholars have renewed their interest in the emotional lives of family members. The current chapter examines three key areas of interdisciplinary research on emotion within families. It first explores how biological predispositions are activated and shaped through processes of emotional socialization within families. The chapter then examines the gendered performance of emotion work, demonstrating how family-related emotion management connects embodied experience with the maintenance of social systems over time. And finally, the chapter concludes with a discussion of how emotional capital links emotion in families with members’ experiences in other institutions. Given that families are charged with passing on emotion knowledge, skills, and capacities to the next generation, the chapter highlights the ways that families are critical for understanding how emotions contribute to the reproduction of inequalities as well as having the potential to mobilize transformational social practice.


Family Emotion Socialization Emotion work Emotional capital 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AkronAkronUSA
  2. 2.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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